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China: Rights Should Top Clinton Agenda

February 13, 2009

For Immediate Release, Human Rights Watch

(New York, February 12, 2009) – US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
should make human rights a prominent topic of discussion in her visit to
Beijing next week, seven prominent organizations said today in a letter
to Clinton.

Amnesty International USA, Freedom House, Human Rights First, Human
Rights in China, Human Rights Watch, the International Campaign for
Tibet, and Reporters Without Borders urged Secretary Clinton to speak
publicly about Tibet and Xinjiang, torture in police custody, domestic
press censorship, extrajudicial detention, and abuses of human rights
defenders.

The letter notes that, “the US’s agenda with China is a broad one, but
we believe that the desired economic, security, and diplomatic progress
can be reinforced through more vigorous and public defense of human
rights.” It also recalls the secretary’s own past comments on human
rights in China, in which she stressed: “not taking citizens away from
their loved ones and jailing them, mistreating them, or denying them
their freedom or dignity because of the peaceful expression of their
ideas and opinions.”

“If Secretary Clinton remains silent on these issues – as the US did
earlier this week during China’s review at the Human Rights Council in
Geneva – the Chinese government is likely to get the wrong message,”
said Sophie Richardson, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch.
“We ask the secretary to stress human rights, the rule of law, and
protections for civil society as a centerpiece of US policy going forward.”

To read the letter from seven organizations to Secretary Clinton, please
visit:http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2009/02/12/letter-us-secretary-state-hillary-clinton

For more information, please contact:
In Washington, DC, Sophie Richardson (English, Mandarin):
+1-202-612-4341; or +1-917-721-7473 (mobile)
In Hong Kong, Minky Worden (English, Cantonese): +1-917-721-7473
(mobile); or wordenm@hrw.org
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
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